Preston Pugh is an experienced trial lawyer and a member of the firm's Executive Committee. Recognized by Legal 500 for corporate investigations, Mr. Pugh works with corporations and large institutions to conduct risk avoidance and mitigation investigations. He also represents clients in multiple stages of crisis management, including initial response, internal investigations, interfacing with the government and stakeholders, and post-crisis analysis. Challenges that he has helped clients successfully navigate include alleged executive or key employee misconduct in the workplace, misrepresentations to the federal government in procurement and government programs, misstatements of financials, workplace violence, trade secrets disputes over important data, regulatory inspections incidents, and threats of terrorism.

Mr. Pugh uses his diverse public and private experience as a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, lead compliance counsel at a highly regulated Fortune 10 company, and twice appointed compliance monitor to assist clients operating in competitive and complex markets. He counsels clients facing reputational risks encompassing a cross-section of regulatory compliance and corporate ethics concerns. He helps clients understand not only whether non-compliance occurred, but also the root cause of the concern – not just "putting out fires," but finding an efficient, effective solution that resonates with regulators, eliminates excessive risk in specific areas, and constructs enduring cultural change.

Mr. Pugh was appointed by a federal district court in one of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) largest monitorships to date involving racial discrimination and harassment. At the conclusion of the monitorship, the district court observed, "You're that outsider coming in... Not easy to do, but you did it well... I think that everybody chose well when they picked you to do this job." He was also the first monitor appointed by the Waterfront Commission of New York and New Jersey Harbors, overseeing a stevedore's efforts to root out organized crime. Mr. Pugh currently serves as a deputy monitor in the gaming industry overseeing a company's efforts to prevent, among other things, sexual harassment and discrimination.

Licensed to practice in Washington, DC, New York, and Illinois, Mr. Pugh is a known advocate in both trial and appellate courts. He has successfully tried a wide variety of federal cases, and has argued civil appeals in the First, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and District of Columbia Circuits in the United States Courts of Appeals. He has succeeded in two cases of first impression: one in the First Circuit and another, as amicus counsel, in the Illinois Supreme Court.

Immediately prior to joining Miller & Chevalier, Mr. Pugh was a partner at a prominent trial boutique in Chicago. He was recognized as an "Illinois Super Lawyer" from 2011 to 2017 and received multiple Special Service Awards during his time at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago. For 10 years, he served as part of the national faculty for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and has been an adjunct professor in appellate advocacy at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
 

  • Appointed as a deputy monitor in an ongoing employment monitorship by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
  • Led a nine-month internal investigation of a health care medical device company regarding allegations by a former employee that included kickbacks, off-label marketing, false claims act violations, and other issues particular to health care.
  • Currently conducting a top-to-bottom risk assessment of a global manufacturer in Europe, the Middle East, Africa (EMEA), U.S., and Asia Pacific alongside Miller & Chevalier's compliance team covering anti-corruption, third-party due diligence, cartels, government contracts, trade controls, and the use, availability, and structure of its whistleblower reporting channels.
  • Represented the second largest hospital in Wisconsin after the tragic homicide of an employee. In the wake of an internal investigation of the homicide, the hospital was inspected by a workplace safety agency. Not only did the hospital pass the inspection, but it also received an exemplary review from the agency.
  • Defended a Japanese client against accusations of accounting fraud through collaboration with the company's auditors, both in the U.S. and Japan.
  • Defended a bank in federal court accused of widespread racial discrimination against its customers. Arbitrated the case in 2018 and ultimately achieved a complete victory on the merits of the case.
  • Served for five years as the federal court-appointed monitor in EEOC v. YRC, one of the EEOC's largest race discrimination and harassment cases to date, and one of the few settlements that has been overseen by a monitor. 
  • Served for two years as the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor's first ever Independent Private Sector Inspector General (IPSIG) (monitor) and oversaw a licensed stevedore's compliance with the Waterfront's regulations.
  • Led the internal investigation for a large airline implicated in an industry-wide False Claims Act and false statements investigation by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the United States Postal Service (USPS). The investigation was both domestic and global, took place over several years, and involved more than 50 witnesses. 
  • Wrote the successful argument in one of the leading implied certification cases in the Seventh Circuit, U.S. ex rel. Bragg v. SCR, part of the circuit split that led to the United States Supreme Court's decision in Universal Health Services v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar.
  • Defended three executives of a large Wall Street financial institution in a nationally-publicized trade secrets and non-solicitation lawsuit filed by their former employer/financial institution. The employees won the case with zero damages.
  • Representing a board of directors, led a team that investigated numerous code of conduct complaints against the CEO of a large hospital, including conflicts of interest and other allegations.
  • Hired by the GC and CCO of a Fortune 100 company to investigate the company's Deputy Chief of Human Resources for numerous alleged code of conduct breaches.
  • Investigated alleged rigging of the hiring process for senior employees at a Fortune 100 company.
  • Co-led an investigation and drafted the report in a major independent investigation of the University of Illinois into highly publicized allegations by student-athletes in its basketball program.
  • Defended FCA and criminal false statement allegations against a Division I university following a well-publicized 2013 dawn raid by 54 agents of the FBI, U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, and Illinois State Police. After considerable work, the DOJ closed the investigation with no charges filed.
     
  • Assistant United States Attorney, Northern District of Illinois, 1999 – 2002 (Recipient of Special Service Award 2000 and 2001)
  • National Labor Relations Appellate Court Branch, 1997 – 1999
  • Senior Counsel, Litigation and Global Investigations, GE Healthcare
  • Seconded Counsel, Integrated Defense Systems, Boeing
  • Legal 500: Dispute Resolution: Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2019
  • DC Bar Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2018
  • DC Bar Capital Pro Bono High Honor Roll, 2017
  • Leading Lawyer in Commercial Litigation, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, 2012 - 2017
  • "40 Attorneys Under 40 to Watch," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, 2004
  • Department of Justice Special Act or Service Award, 2000 - 2001
  • Vice Chair, Procurement Fraud and False Claims Committee, Section of Public Contract Law, American Bar Association
  • Co-Chair, Global Anti-Corruption Committee, American Bar Association
  • Co-Chair, Qui Tam Subcommittee, Criminal Justice Section, American Bar Association
  • American Bar Association's Task Force on Corporate Monitors
  • Leadership Greater Chicago, Class of 2012
  • Former Member, Character and Fitness Committee, Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee
  • Former Chair, Labor and Employment Committee, Chicago Bar Association
Bar Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • New York
Court Admissions
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    including the Trial Bar
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit